Countryside and Rights of Way Bill - continued        House of Lords
PART II, PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY AND ROAD TRAFFIC - continued

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Rights of way improvement plans
Rights of way improvement plans.     57. - (1) Every local highway authority other than an inner London authority shall, within five years after the commencement of this section, prepare and publish a plan, to be known as a rights of way improvement plan, containing-
 
 
    (a) the authority's assessment of the matters specified in subsection (2),
 
    (b) a statement of the action they propose to take for the management of local rights of way, and for securing an improved network of local rights of way, with particular regard to the matters dealt with in the assessment, and
 
    (c) such other material as the Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales) may direct.
      (2) The matters referred to in subsection (1)(a) are-
 
 
    (a) the extent to which local rights of way meet the present and likely future needs of the public,
 
    (b) the opportunities which local rights of way provide for open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the authority's area,
 
    (c) the accessibility of local rights of way to blind or partially sighted persons and others with mobility problems, and
 
    (d) such other matters relating to local rights of way as the Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales) may direct.
      (3) An authority by whom a rights of way improvement plan is published shall, not more than ten years after first publishing it and subsequently at intervals of not more than ten years-
 
 
    (a) make a new assessment of the matters specified in subsection (2), and
 
    (b) review the plan and decide whether to amend it.
      (4) On such a review the authority shall-
 
 
    (a) if they decide to amend the plan, publish it as amended, and
 
    (b) if they decide to make no amendments to it, publish a report of their decision and of their reasons for it.
      (5) In this section-
 
  "inner London authority" means Transport for London, the council of an inner London borough or the Common Council of the City of London;
 
  "local highway authority" has the same meaning as in the 1980 Act;
 
  "local rights of way" in relation to a local highway authority, means-
 
 
    (a) the footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways within the authority's area, and
 
    (b) the ways within the authority's area which are shown in a definitive map and statement as restricted byways or byways open to all traffic.
      (6) In subsection (5) the definition of "local rights of way" has effect until the commencement of section 44 with the substitution for the references to restricted byways and to ways shown in a definitive map and statement as restricted byways of a reference to ways shown in a definitive map and statement as roads used as public paths.
 
Rights of way improvement plans: supplemental.     58. - (1) Before preparing or reviewing a rights of way improvement plan, and in particular in making any assessment under section 57(1)(a) or (3)(a), a local highway authority shall consult-
 
 
    (a) each local highway authority whose area adjoins their area;
 
    (b) each district council, and each parish or community council, whose area is within their area;
 
    (c) the National Park authority for a National Park any part of which is within their area;
 
    (d) where any part of the Broads is within their area, the Broads Authority;
 
    (e) the Countryside Agency or the Countryside Council for Wales (as appropriate);
 
    (f) such persons as the Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales) may by regulations prescribe in relation to the local highway authority's area; and
 
    (g) such other persons as the local highway authority may consider appropriate.
      (2) In preparing or amending a rights of way improvement plan, a local highway authority shall-
 
 
    (a) publish a draft of the plan or of the plan as amended,
 
    (b) publish, in two or more local newspapers circulating in their area, notice of how a copy of the draft can be inspected or obtained and how representations on it can be made to them, and
 
    (c) consider any representations made in accordance with the notice.
      (3) As regards their rights of way improvement plan, any draft plan on which representations may be made and any report under section 57(4)(b), a local highway authority shall-
 
 
    (a) keep a copy available for inspection free of charge at all reasonable times at their principal offices, and
 
    (b) supply a copy to any person who requests one, either free of charge or on payment of a reasonable charge determined by the authority.
      (4) Local highway authorities shall, in carrying out their functions under section 57 and this section, have regard to such guidance as may from time to time be given to them by the Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales).
 
      (5) A local highway authority may make arrangements with-
 
 
    (a) any district council whose area is within their area, or
 
    (b) the National Park authority for a National Park any part of which is within their area,
       for the functions of the local highway authority under section 57 and this section so far as relating to the area of that council or to the part of the Park within the local highway authority's area, to be discharged jointly by the local highway authority and by that council or National Park authority.
 
      (6) Regulations under subsection (1)(f) shall be made by statutory instrument, and a statutory instrument containing such regulations made by the Secretary of State shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
 
      (7) In this section-
 
 
    "local highway authority" has the same meaning as in the 1980 Act;
 
    "the Broads" has the same meaning as in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988.
Application of ss. 57 and 58 to inner London.     59. - (1) The council of an inner London borough or the Common Council of the City of London may by resolution adopt sections 57 and 58 as respects their area or any part of it which is specified in the resolution.
 
      (2) On the passing by any authority of a resolution under subsection (1), sections 57 and 58 shall, as respects their area or the part of it specified in the resolution, apply in relation to that authority-
 
 
    (a) as they apply in relation to a local highway authority other than an inner London authority, but
 
    (b) with the substitution for the reference in subsection (1) of section 57 to the commencement of that section of a reference to the date on which the resolution comes into operation.
 
Removal of obstructions from highways
Enforcement of duty to prevent obstruction.     60. - (1) After section 130 of the 1980 Act there is inserted-
 
 
"Notices to enforce duty regarding public paths.     130A. - (1) Any person who alleges, as respects any highway for which a local highway authority other than an inner London authority are the highway authority-
 
    (a) that the highway falls within subsection (2) below, and
 
    (b) that it is obstructed by an obstruction to which this section applies,
       may serve on the highway authority notice requesting them to secure the removal of the obstruction from the highway.
 
      (2) A highway is within this subsection if it is-
 
 
    (a) a footpath, bridleway, or restricted byway, or
 
    (b) a way shown in a definitive map and statement as a restricted byway or a byway open to all traffic.
      (3) Subject to subsection (4) below, this section applies to an obstruction of the highway if the obstruction is without lawful authority and either-
 
 
    (a) the powers conferred by section 143, 149 or 154 below are exercisable in respect of it, or
 
    (b) it is of a description prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State and the authority have power (otherwise than under any of those sections) to secure its removal.
      (4) This section does not apply to an obstruction if-
 
 
    (a) it is or forms part of-
 
      (i) a building (whether temporary or permanent) or works for the construction of a building, or
 
      (ii) any other structure (including a tent, caravan, vehicle or other temporary or movable structure) which is designed, adapted or used for human habitation,
 
    (b) an order may be made in respect of it under section 56(4) above, or
 
    (c) the presence of any person constitutes the obstruction.
      (5) A person serving a notice under subsection (1) above must include in the notice the name and address, if known to him, of any person who it appears to him may be for the time being responsible for the obstruction.
 
      (6) A highway authority on whom a notice under subsection (1) above is served shall, within one month from the date of service of the notice, serve-
 
 
    (a) on every person whose name and address is, pursuant to subsection (5) above, included in the notice and, so far as reasonably practicable, on every other person who it appears to them may be for the time being responsible for the obstruction, a notice informing that person that a notice under subsection (1) above has been served in relation to the obstruction and stating what, if any, action the authority propose to take, and
 
    (b) on the person who served the notice under subsection (1) above, a notice containing the name and address of each person on whom notice is served under paragraph (a) above and stating what, if any, action the authority propose to take in relation to the obstruction.
      (7) For the purposes of this section the persons for the time being responsible for an obstruction include the owner and any other person who for the time being-
 
 
    (a) has possession or control of it, or
 
    (b) may be required to remove it.
      (8) A notice under subsection (1) or (6) above shall be in such form and contain such information as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State.
 
      (9) In this section "inner London authority" means Transport for London, the council of an inner London borough or the Common Council of the City of London.
 
      (10) Subsection (2) above has effect until the commencement of section 44 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 with the substitution for the references to a restricted byway and to a way shown in a definitive map and statement as a restricted byway of a reference to a way shown in a definitive map and statement as a road used as a public path.
 
Orders following notice under section 130A.     130B. - (1) Where a notice under section 130A(1) above has been served on a highway authority in relation to any obstruction, the person who served it, if not satisfied that the obstruction has been removed, may apply to a magistrates' court in accordance with section 130C below for an order under this section.
 
      (2) An order under this section is an order requiring the highway authority to take, within such reasonable period as may be fixed by the order, such steps as may be specified in the order for securing the removal of the obstruction.
 
      (3) An order under this section shall not take effect-
 
 
    (a) until the end of the period of twenty-one days from the day on which the order is made; or
 
    (b) if an appeal is brought in respect of the order within that period (whether by way of appeal to the Crown Court or by way of case stated for the opinion of the High Court), until the final determination or withdrawal of the appeal.
      (4) Subject to subsection (5) below, the court may make an order under this section if it is satisfied-
 
 
    (a) that the obstruction is one to which section 130A above applies or, in a case falling within subsection (4)(a)(ii) of that section, is one to which that section would apply but for the obstruction having become used for human habitation since service of the notice relating to it under subsection (1) of that section,
 
    (b) that the way obstructed is a highway within subsection (2) of that section, and
 
    (c) that the obstruction significantly interferes with the exercise of public rights of way over that way.
      (5) No order shall be made under this section if the highway authority satisfy the court-
 
 
    (a) that the fact that the way obstructed is a highway within section 130A(2) above is seriously disputed,
 
    (b) on any other grounds, that they have no duty under section 130(3) above to secure the removal of the obstruction, or
 
    (c) that, under arrangements which have been made by the authority, its removal will be secured within a reasonable time, having regard to the number and seriousness of obstructions in respect of which they have such a duty.
      (6) A highway authority against whom an order is made under this section shall, as soon as practicable after the making of the order, cause notice of the order and of the right to appeal against it to be displayed in such manner and at such places on the highway concerned as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State, and the notice shall be in such form and contain such information as may be so prescribed.
 
      (7) An order under this section may be varied on the application of the highway authority to whom it relates.
 
Section 130B: procedure.     130C. - (1) A person proposing to make an application under section 130B above shall before making the application serve notice of his intention to do so on the highway authority concerned.
 
      (2) A notice under subsection (1) above shall be in such form and contain such information as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State.
 
      (3) The notice may not be served before the end of two months beginning with the date of service on the highway authority of the notice under section 130A(1) above ("the request notice").
 
      (4) An application in respect of which notice has been served under subsection (1) above may be made at any time-
 
 
    (a) after the end of five days beginning with the date of service of that notice, and
 
    (b) before the end of six months beginning with the date of service on the highway authority of the request notice.
      (5) On making the application the applicant must give notice to the court of the names and addresses of which notice was given to the applicant under section 130A(6)(b) above.
 
      (6) On the hearing of the application any person who is, within the meaning of section 130A above, a person for the time being responsible for the obstruction to which the application relates has a right to be heard as respects the matters mentioned in section 130B(4) above.
 
      (7) Notice of the hearing, of the right to be heard under subsection (6) above and of the right to appeal against a decision on the application shall be given by the court to each person whose name and address is notified to the court under subsection (5) above.
 
Section 130B: costs.     130D. Where an application under section 130B above is dismissed by virtue of paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subsection (5) of that section, the court, in determining whether and if so how to exercise its power under section 64(1) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (costs), shall have particular regard to any failure by the highway authority to give the applicant appropriate notice of, and information about, the grounds relied on by the authority under that paragraph."
 
      (2) In section 317 of the 1980 Act (appeals to the Crown Court from decisions of magistrates' courts) after subsection (2) there is inserted-
 
 
    "(3) Any person who, in relation to the decision of a magistrates' court on an application under section 130B above, does not fall within subsection (1) above but-
 
 
    (a) is, within the meaning of section 130A above, a person for the time being responsible for the obstruction to which the application related, or
 
    (b) when the application was heard, was such a person and was, or claimed to be, heard on the application,
       may appeal to the Crown Court against the decision on any ground relating to the matters mentioned in section 130B(4) above."
 
Power to order offender to remove obstruction.     61. - (1) After section 137 of the 1980 Act (penalty for wilful obstruction) there is inserted-
 
 
"Power to order offender to remove obstruction.     137ZA. - (1) Where a person is convicted of an offence under section 137 above in respect of the obstruction of a highway and it appears to the court that-
 
    (a) the obstruction is continuing, and
 
    (b) it is in that person's power to remove the cause of the obstruction,
       the court may, in addition to or instead of imposing any punishment, order him to take, within such reasonable period as may be fixed by the order, such steps as may be specified in the order for removing the cause of the obstruction.
 
      (2) The time fixed by an order under subsection (1) above may be extended or further extended by order of the court on an application made before the end of the time as originally fixed or as extended under this subsection, as the case may be.
 
      (3) Where a person is ordered under subsection (1) above to remove the cause of any obstruction, that person shall not be liable under section 137 above in respect of the obstruction in so far as it continues during the time fixed by the order or any further time allowed under subsection (2) above.
 
      (4) If a person fails without reasonable excuse to comply with an order under subsection (1) above, he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale."
 
      (2) Subsection (1) does not have effect in relation to any offence under section 137 of the 1980 Act committed before the commencement of this section.
 
Overhanging vegetation obstructing horse-riders.     62. In section 154 of the 1980 Act (cutting or felling etc. trees etc. that overhang or are a danger to roads or footpaths) in subsection (1) after "public lamp," there is inserted "or overhangs a highway so as to endanger or obstruct the passage of horse-riders,".
 
 
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